It was not before my first year in college when I remember getting hold of my first mobile phone. Data was a luxury back then, access was a privilege and ‘unlimited’ was a concept alien to us. The only allowance for usage was not to use it when ‘studying’.
Two decades apart, education, in its entirety, has transitioned into a mobile phone. Today, all it takes is an internet enabled device to offer limitless access and exposure to a world, never imagined before. Children today are born into technology, developing familiarity and awareness of devices much before and better than their previous generations. And the one sector that has witnessed this definitive transformation majorly has been education
For eons, Indian education has been plagued by infrastructural inadequacy, quality constraints and a demand supply mismatch. The gaps have widened further due to a dismal teacher student ratio, inadequate to meet the learning demands of the world’s largest school going population. According to The State Of The Education Report 2021, India has about 97 lakh teachers for around 264 MN school going children with a deficit of over 1MN across the system. Increased adoption of online education not only fixes this but is also curating a new learning process for Indian kids that is future ready, innovative and globally viable.
If the trends of the last two years are anything to go by, students and parents have now transitioned into a new ecosystem and are cognisant of edtech’s ability to ensure continuity in learning. Despite classes resuming in India, over 70% of students in a Brainly survey admitted relying on online learning resources today to supplement textbook schooling. Technology has enabled education beyond the realms of time and space, offering quality resources to even students residing in remote corners, readying them for a future replete with equitable opportunities and growth. And in doing that, edtech has also ushered in a new scope for India’s next generation of teachers to map student progress more accurately and guide a digitally empowered cohort better.
Democratizing quality education for all, irrespective of varying economic and social backgrounds has been the biggest giveaway of edtech. Students from lower income households, particularly girls who, for so long had to leave schools halfway or compromise with their education, stand to benefit largely from the new age of remote learning today that empowers them at par with their urban counterparts. With increasing internet penetration, betterment in purchasing power and early adoption of digital education amongst youngsters, the next leap of growth in edtech will understandably stem from these cities in India.
Along with access, the power of personalization is also steering students towards a digitally empowered learning environment. The ability to access education from anywhere, anytime is of benefit to not only students but teachers as well who are increasingly getting equipped with the latest technology to deliver better. The absence of a ‘one size fits all’ approach is also letting students address extreme pressure, shorter attention spans and gaps in learning. Every student can now pursue studies at a definite pace suited to their understanding and consume resources that cater to their specific learning needs. This convenience is a primal step in creating an inclusive community where no student feels hesitant to accomplish their academic goals.
For a culturally variant nation like India, language would continue to have paramount importance in learning and empowering an individual. While traditional schooling is bereft of this advantage, online education enables one to pursue resources in a language of comfort and aid their understanding, retention and development process. On the Brainly study app, students are exposed to an extensive knowledge base of 48 million questions available across Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Hindi, Marathi, and Sanskrit for free.
If there’s an appropriate moment to witness the impact of technology in learning, it is now. Digital tools have not only made education in India interesting but also ensured equality and diversity. The future will see the integration of more emerging technologies like AR / VR, gamification and voice assistants into the curriculum to innovate the way students learn and alter the definition of classrooms forever.
The next chapter in Indian edtech is interesting and will have an integral role to play in shaping the cultural conscience of the world’s largest expanse of young population. But for that to happen, digital education will need to maximize reach and work towards ensuring trust and quality control. We are not far from a day when a student in Jaipur would access a different interface than a student in Bihar and a girl from Ambala would team up with a girl from Amsterdam just at the click of a device. And that day, we would know how Indian Edtech has ably laid the foundation for a future ready generation.